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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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Shadows of the Ramayana 1

Shadows of the Ramayana 1

(p.523) Shadows of the Ramayana 1
On Hinduism

Wendy Doniger

Oxford University Press

The Ramayana is the oldest surviving Hindu text and one of the world’s most popular epics. Composed by the sage Valmiki in Sanskrit in Northern India, sometime between the second century BCE and the second century CE, it tells the story of Rama the perfect prince, Sita his perfect wife, and Lakshmana his perfect brother who were all born to be paradigms of goodness. This chapter analyzes the story of the Ramayana, beginning with human characters who serve as doubles of other characters within the text. It then looks at animals, primarily the male monkeys, who function as the shadows of Bharata and Rama, and demons. Finally, it considers the character Ravana as a sexual predator.

Keywords:   epics, Ramayana, Valmiki, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, characters, animals, monkeys, demons

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